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 July 1999 Index

Letters index
Letters sent to The Iranian in previous months

    July index:

* Revolution
- CIA couldn't do it better
- Blind faith

- Groundless assumptions
- Women in Islam
* Protests:
- Slogans won't do it

- Wishful thinking
- Their turn

- Amazing American politicians
- The way it was
- Twin demons
- Khatami only hope

- Last desperate stab
- Worse than a dog
- Disaster for IRI
- Two steps back
- Helping MKO types
- Who's there to lead?
- Will civil society grow?
- Restless
- Aafarin to the Iranian students
- Time for a change

* Language
- Khaaleh & Khaalu
- We have you...

- Word roots
* Iranian-American:
* The Iranian:
- 007
- Thanks for Samad
- True conspiracies

* Arabs:
- Stereo-typing

* Religion:
- Religion prevents unity

- Moderate, practicing Muslim
* The Iranian:
- Admirable
- My little daughter

- Kudos!
- Embrace global community
- Still Iranian
L.A. wedding:
- The movie?

- Brilliant!
- Most important Iranian
- Bayzaie deserves better

* Jews:
- Cheh goli kaashtim?

- Sincerest apologies
* War:
- Horrors for posterity

July 30, 1999

* Slogans won't do it

It is great we can talk about Iran so freely, but being away from Iran and just talking does not help much ["Solidarity"]. I feel that we can make a change, even from outside. Living in the United States (or other countries abroad), we have the luxury of expressing our rights to those in power.

However, standing in front of the federal buildings, shouting, holding billboards, gathering crowds in an unorganized fashion will not explain Iran's situation nor can anyone watching the charade understand our thoughts. In fact, it will bring embarrassing images of Iran!

To get help to change Iran, it is important we clean our image first. In the United States the word "Iran" reads "death to America", "Terrorism" and "Hostage Takers"! Although there is a large population of Iranians in the U.S., many of whom are well-established both academically and professionally, we have yet to bring the truth about ourselves to the eyes of Americans.

The truth is that majority of people in Iran don't believe in those hideous words of death to this and that, nor do they hate Americans, nor do they believe in Islamic tyranny. But they are forced to say and do senseless acts as I am sure many of you fellow Iranians can relate to.

If other countries see us as violent people, they'll never help us. It is not easy to clean up the existing image of Iran. But there are more efficient ways in showing our support for democracy.

It is important that we bring our voices down, structure them, organize them and give them a perspective. Then we can forward them to the those in power. Those who can talk for us. They can be anybody, in the media or politicians.

Wouldn't it look better to be interviewed sitting in front of the camera in a proper place with a proper attire, than to yell on the streets saying, "democracy", "Iran", and ...? Wouldn't it be better to be viewed as a civilized society? Educated? Diplomatic?


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July 29, 1999

* Thanks for Samad

I just finished two translated stories from Samad Behrangi ["Talkhun", "In search of fate"]. Both of them were beautiful and I enjoyed them in English .

I am originally Iranian, and so proud of the Iranian writers and translators. The job done was great to my taste. Thanks to The Iranian Times and all the friends involved. Looking forward to see more.


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* CIA couldn't do it better

This is in response to the gentleman who wrote "Worse than a dog":

You are absolutely right. The revolution has taken so many young, innocent lives (the revolution itself, the Iran-Iraq war, MKO executions and so on), brought our economy to its worst level, destroyed our international image, paralyzed and rendered useless 50% of our country's workforce (women) and many other horrible things. I don't think even the CIA could have done a better job.

Long live the Islamic Revolution!

M. Mobini

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July 28, 1999

* Blind faith

Farina Chaudry's letter sounds like someone indoctrinated to defend the "faith" to the point of being blind. As with Christianity, many things that became Islamic law did so decades and centuries after Mohammad died. They were put into law by those who used religion as a conduit of power to control the masses. It's always been an effective tool for that. Overtime these laws, many which were derived from the settling of differences of opinion, became institutionalized and taught to those too far removed spatially and temporally to understand the basis of these laws.

Were the origins better understood, people might not be so ready to accept them unquestioningly. Take for example the veiling of women. Originally this was used within the Persian empire as a way to distinguish upper class women from those of the lower classes. It conveyed the idea that a woman's husband was well-off enough financially that his wife did not need to work. As Muslim Arabs became the new upper class they adopted this practice and eventually made it into Islamic law.

What is important to note here, however, is that this law was not a choice given to women. It was forced upon them by men and because of that it serves as a form of oppression of one sex against the other. There is nothing in the Quran that supports this as an Islamic practice. And even if there was, I'd still question it, for in the eyes of God we are all equal. It is only when we are educated under oppression that this status gets lost for some. And when that happens we all lose something of ourselves.

Alex Bettesworth

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* True conspiracies

Ahmad Ashraf has a very nice interpretation of history. I admire his interest but what he said in "Conspiracy theories and the Persian mind" shows his lack of knowledge. The history of Iran is a fact and far from any myth.


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July 27, 1999

* 007

I have been very impressed by the eloquent, thoughtful, and professional reporting of your correspondent, Soma 007, in Tehran, and more generally by your coverage of recent events in Iran. Thank you.

Hossein Samiei

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* Groundless assumptions

In response to Farina Yasmin Chaudry: I think that how a person chooses to express him/herself has no limits, just as freedom doesn't have limits, and to put a stopper on creativity would result in the ruin of human civilization as we know it ["The gun and the gaze"].

We cannot tell each other what to dream, what to think, what to do, what to write, and what to draw. That is only for the individual to decide, and not for Anyone to interfere with. If we do this we have violated a right more sacred than life itself, for if a person does not have freedom of expression or thought, there is no point to it.

Your assumption that Islam was for the greater good of the female sex is a groundless one. I seem to remember quite clearly that in the religion of Islam if a woman is raped she is to be killed to purify her of the dishonor. There was a case in Pakistan of a woman getting raped by her own brother and then being killed by her family, for her brother's vice. Also, only recently was the stoning of women in Iran outlawed.

Under Islamic law, men are given preference over women in divorce, in inheritences, and in other legal settlements. Also, it is a woman who may not talk to strangers in public and must cover all of her body at all times. In short, a woman is only half a man in Islam.

And if you consider Zoroastrians and Jews, who have had such a huge impact on all religions, including Islam, to be pagan, with a smile on my face, I suggest you reconsider your comment on burying people in sand.

You also make very general comments giving credit to Islam for giving more freedom to women. Before the rise of Islam, Minoan women held very high places in society that would even surprise current day Islamic governments.

That is only one in a long list of civilizations that have held women in high regard. If you have ever lived in Iran, I cannot even guess how you can support Islam's stance on the female race, as half of my own family's women suffer each and every day because of it, and I imagine you would, too.

Maziar Shirazi

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July 26, 1999

* Wishful thinking

I couldn't be more agree with Mr. Hoveyda ["1999 not 1979"] about needing a leader in the recent demonstrations in Iran. The Los Angeles-based Radio Iran in reply to most of the listners' comments suggested that people should rise and continue the fight until the present government is overthrown and then Reza Pahlavi or Banisadr would step in and take over. Wishful thinking!

As for Mr. Khatami, he reminds me a lot of Mehdi Bazargan whose inability to govern broght such havoc upon us. Mr. Khatami has betrayed the people once again by giving nice promisses to his constituents, knowing that he has no power to fulfil them.

F. Rafat

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* Women in Islam

I understand as an artist you have the right to express yourself but the way that you express yourself should have some limitations. Some of your art I think is truly poetic and beautiful ["The gun and the gaze"]. I really do respect your talent. I do however strongly disagree with how you portray women with rifles and blood.

I can not believe you would portray Islamic women like they were some type of extremist missionaries. If you knew anything about Islam you would know that Islam is a religion based upon peace and respect for women. Islam was the first religion to give women true rights. Before Islam came around pagans were burying their daughters in the sand. Islam was the first religion to give women rights. It gave women the right to vote, it gave women the right to own property. They say heaven is beneath your mothers feet and the prophet himself told people to treat your mother better than your father.

Islam started from one prophet and is now spread into a religion of over 1/6th of the world. The prophet himself would listen to the opinions of women just the same as men. To portray these women like extremists who are oppressed is disgusting and appalling. Who are you to display women in chador like they're extremists? I myself wear the hijab and have grown up in the U.S. Not a day goes by that at one time or another I don't feel uncomfortable, because some person is starting at me like I'm a terrorists. Do you know why they look at me like I'm crazy and oppressed? Because of people like you who give women in Islam a bad name.

I am not oppressed, I have chosen to wear the hijab and am proud of myself every day because of this choice. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, including the U.S., and three times as many women convert than men because of the rights Islam gives women. It is people like you who allow people to dwell in their ignorance of how Islam is the "terrorist" religion.

I'm not trying to in any way shape or form tell you that you should be a Muslim or tell you that your faith is wrong. What I am trying to tell you is that just as a human being you should try to make an effort to understand other people's religion and to respect them out of humanity. You stereotype these women into terrorists.

I'm a Muslim and come from a Middle Eastern country and in fact I'm happy, my parents treat me extremely lovingly and treat each other the same. My father has never even raised his hand or voice to my mother. I'm educated and I've never ever held a gun in my hand. So where you get your examples of Muslim women e from, I don't know. But what I do know is that your pictures are offensive, insinuating, degrading and just plain disgusting.

To think that God wasted talent on someone like you when he could have given it to one of the women in your photographs who could be photographing you.

Farina Yasmin Chaudry

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July 23, 1999

* Stereo-typing

Allow me to express my utmost disappointment in the unfortunate remarks cointained in the poem "History of Iran"which clearly crosses the logical and moral (if not legal) borders of discrimination and negative stereo-typing.

Iranians, one of the primary victims of the same type of prejudice in the west, should choose to become the new flag bearers of equality and the forerunners of an end to such practices. Although it is very common within our culture to abuse and stereo-type other nationalities and cultures, one expects that our intellectuals and media such as the new electronic form of it (The Iranian), stay away from the kind of conduct that in the short and long term will be harmful to our own community.

After all, if we start stereo-typing other cultures and races ("Cuz when Arabs invaded, not too many fought. They handed our country to men who were no wizards. For fine dining experience, they mostly ate lizards.") then we are opening the doors and in fact approving stereo-typing of ourselves by those who consider us "no wizards" or "violent" or "terrorist" or ...

Pedram Moallemian
Director (CIRCLE)
Canadian Iranian Centre for Liberty & Equality
Suite #105 120 Sheppard Ave.
East Toronto, ON M2N 3A4
Tel (416) 218-0552
Fax (416) 218-0556

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July 22, 1999

* Their turn

As a member of the Iranian diasporic community I am thrilled as to the recent events that have gone on in Iran. Although I personally feel that Khatami himself is first and foremost still a Muslim cleric, he is probably the country's only hope.

I am waiting for the day when there will be no Islamic state in Iran. A day when we can actually rid ourselves of the Arab influence in our country. Islam invaded Iran, and although we mostly contribute imperialism to the English, Islam has it's own imperialism and Iran is a perfect example of that.

The clerical government would like to see an end to Noruz celebrations as well, because it is not an Islamic holiday.

I urge all members of the diasporic Iranian/Persian community to do whatever they can to show their support for the people of Iran who want change; the clerical government has run Iran into the ground and the same people that were chanting "Down with the Shah" have realized that they have implemented monsters in his place.


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* Religion prevents unity

In response to the moderate, practicing Muslim I must say I disagree on the fact that we can't teach culture without religion. Religion is one of the many things that keeps Iranians from being united, and that is one of the biggest problems in Iranian society today.

I have no problem with religion and do not seek to detract from it. But if Iranian culture is to be preserved, we must look to other aspects of our society as well. As an Iranian agnostic, I am fiercely proud of my culture and the accomplishments and history of our country and people.

I was not raised to believe in Allah, or Ahura Mazda, or Baha U'ollah. Rather, instead of being a servant of Islam or what have you, I listened to the stories of our founding forefathers like Cyrus and Darius, in addition to our heroes, from Rostam to Ferdowsi to Takhti.

If anything, we need to start teaching the more unbiased parts of our culture, that don't focus on a specific religion or belief. We need to put our prejudices aside and simply be proud of being Iranian.

Q tip

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July 21, 1999

* Moderate, practicing Muslim

I enjoyed reading "After all, I am Iranian" and found it refreshing that people my age are learning about Iranian culture and traditions. However, if I may add my own opinion, being Iranian does not only center around one's customs, traditions, or even language.

I have great respect for those Iranians who are Jewish and Christian. They have kept their respective faiths. I have had a chance to attended to Iranian-Jewish celebrations and learn more about the Jewish faith. They are proud of who they are and are happy to share their religion to others who want to be educated.

As a moderate, practicing Muslim, I find it utterly shameful that we Iranian Muslims cannot be proud of our faith. We don't need to be extremist or even yield to one dogma. As a moderate Muslim, I wear my hijab in the masjid, AND THAT''S IT. I am like a typical American girl outside and enjoy the freedoms of being the first born Iranian-American in this great country.

Yet, I feel that as a Iranian-American, we have become too shallow, only observing our culture and forgetting about religion. There are many Iranian-Americans Muslims that don't know a thing about their faith and believe themselves to be Christian or even agnostic. It is sad when one comes across these individuals.

That is why I stress that it is important for Iranians, whether Jewish, Christian, Zorastrian or Muslim to teach their children about religion and culture together. For example, Iranians gave the Islamic world many great scientific, artistic, and cultural traditions that have helped shape our traditions. You cannot teach culture without religion.

In closing, I want to thank Ms. Jalalipour for her essay. Your a smart, intelligent young lady that has a great future ahead of you.


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* Admirable


Soma's reports from Tehran are great and being special the The Iranian Times is excellent. Putting out the "Extra"s are very timely and the stance of The Iranian Times in relation to recent events has been clear and admirable. Your role, nowadays, is more important than ever and I'm glad for you and my favorite publication.


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July 20, 1999

* Amazing American politicians

I agree with Ramin Abhari (The Iranian Times, July 19). We should support Khatami. In its issue of July 8, the Washington Post saw it fit to stage yet another attack on Khatami ('More Mullah than Moderate' by 'a former CIA specialist'). I wrote a letter of protest to the editor which was not published.

There seems to be a confluence of interests among some right-wing politicians in the congress, the Israeli government (although that might be changing), the MKO and hard-liners in Iran to put an end to Khatami's courageous initiatives.

It is truly amazing that, in the U.S., the MKO can manage to present itself as a serious alternative to the exisitng Iranian regime and claim the backing of more than a hundred American congreessmen.

I know American politicians are not the shrewdest people on earth when it come to foreign policy and history. But they wield enormous power. So do such mainstream media players sucb as the Washington Post.

Do we want the future of our homeland be dictated by the most vociferous, once again? Have we learned anything from history? I don't know what to do or how to do it. But at least we can devote some time and effort to thinking about it.

Afshin Afshari
San Jose, California

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* The way it was

I think it is about time that Iranians stood up against oppression and unjust laws. Although, I think that what happened was not enough. I was born in Tehran and now live in Virginia.

I would like to see the day when Iran returns to the way it was under the Shah, so that there will be peace, and that maybe, just maybe, we could all go back and relive our lost lives.

Yashar Basseri

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* Twin demons

I have spent enough time in Iran recently to grasp the following: The twin demons affecting this very interesting country are the 4% per annum population growth from early in the Islamic Republic's tenure and the lack of water resources.

These two impediments to growth are, of course, intertwined. The Iranian dovernment must effectively deal with them - and stop looking for external scapegoats.

Raoul Tschebull

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July 19, 1999

* Khatami only hope

I can't help thinking that another opportunity for forwarding the cause of liberalization in Iran was lost last week ["Now what?"]. The roughing of peaceful student protestors and trashing of their dormatories, was a big embarassment for the hard-line establishment. It could have had led to a major purge, having followed the assassination of writers few months earlier.

Now with the rioting and Mojahedeen Khalq's statements of support, it would be masterful if Khatami could prevent this from becoming a major setback. Why doesn't the opposition realize that they have no leadership and that Khatami is the only hope for Iran out of this darkness?

Ramin Abhari

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* Last desperate stab

Political science data advisable for democratization in Eastern Europe and South America strongly suggest that the success of a democratic transition is linked to the involvement of soft-liners (Mohammad Khatami) in the authoritarian regime.

Lynn Karl and Phillippe Schmitter (1991) found that when authoritarian regimes conducted their own democratization they were much more likely to succeed. However, even when the regime itself is conducting the democratization it can be subject to internal coups. Hard-liners often take one last desperate stab at reasserting themselves (e.g. USSR--Genady Yeniev vs. Mikhail Gorbachev).

However, if Khatami's power base is stable, it is already too late for a hard-liner coup to succeed. It seems that the real threat to Iran's democratization process are the students and Iran's neighbors. The Karl and Schmitter (1991) data suggests that if the protesters take over the reform process a future Iranian democratic regime's actual chances for success will be diminished.

As for Iran's neighbors, Mark Gasiorowski (1995) ["Now what?"] found a direct link between the number of democratic neighbors a democratizing regime has and its chances of success. Iran is in real trouble in this regard! Talk about an island in a sea of dictatorships.

Roy Casagranda

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* Worse than a dog

You guys are worse than a dog. Long live the Islamic revolution.

Salah Jafar

July 16, 1999

* Disaster for IRI

It is obvious from the latest decree by President Khatami in Iran, that he will crush further protests.... This of course would mean disaster for the government officials, Khatami included, who have continuously failed to provide the Iranian people with a satisfactory economic, social, and political freedom that they deserve; and let us not forget, this is the freedom that they were promised in the 1979 revolution (by Khomeini and his clerical and intellectual supporters) and caused the uprooting of a 2500 year old monarchy in Iran.

However, from day one Khomeini and his clerical staff did their utmost to bring about more limitations instead of freedom, and to ensure their success created an environment of fear to rule the country, arresting those tied to the previous government and the intellectual faction of the revolutionary force, carrying out thousands of executions, and causing the self-imposed exile of millions of Iranians in the past 20 years ... FULL TEXT

Yek Irani

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July 15, 1999

* Two steps back

We are born as Iranians not by our own choice. However what we do as Iranians is (our choice). As much as we are proud of our culture, let us make sure by our deeds and not rhetoric about the past, we preserve what we have inherited. How great is Iran depends on how Iranians present it.

With all the events going on in Iran these days it seem we are in competition with the Taleban ["The spark"]. The policy of one step forward, two steps back, leaves us with losing even what we had. And losing lives is always backward, specially when the subject is: "FREEDOM TO EXPRESS".

Sepehr Sohrab

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* Helping MKO types

I wrote this to a friend:

A couple of months ago I mentioned to you that the kind of policies stubbornly persued by the government of Iran in denying the moderates and liberal nationalist forces any opportunity will only help radical movements and the Mojahedin Khalq types. Although you noted that the MKO was the best organized and had more supporters than other group in Sweden, you indicated that you considered them as traitors. My statement was not based on any affection for them. In fact, they are one of my least favorites, together with some of the former Tudeh Party members who are trying to penetrate the National Front and gain a foothold in its leadership ostensibly on the ground of being its recent converts.

But I have learned to rely on my knowledge, limited though it may be, rather than my wishes and desires in the face of what seems the probable consequences of empirical developments. Today , finally, clearly and in spite of protestations to the contrary, the police and Ansar Hezbollah have together attacked the students in the university and dormitories after the statement by the National Security Council, presided over by Khatami, that if the student do not have permit from authorities (the same police and intelligence agents that we have known) they would be arrested.

Perhaps President Khatami thought that he had no other choice in the circumstances, and I certainly wish him the best since he may still be the last hope for a relatively peaceful transition to a more tolerable political system in Iran.

Incidentally, I have never criticized him openly and have urged other nationalists and moderates who may pay any attention to me not to do so either. But his present position and predicament and the students' mood may result in their further alienation and tendency toward radicalism and support for the likes of the MKO.

I still hope otherwise and think that there may be time to take some meaningful remedial steps. But they require courage and a significant amount of risk taking.

G.H. Razi

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* Who's there to lead?

Question is, does the West want to remove the Islamic Republic? Would they gain by removing them? And if they do, who is to replace them? Few hundred or thousand student demonstrators could not do anything if they don't have any support behind them. Is there anyone to lead them?

We should not expect a revoluion or a change with six days of riots, if no one is there for them, to lead them to organize them. Today is not 1978. The Shah had to go and they brought Khomeini out of nowhere, and made him a god. A man who could not even speak proper Farsi and all his sentences were backwards just like his regime, became a supreme leader and god of the Iranians, and removed the Shah with all that power.

I never heard of Khomeini before, and just few months before the change of the monarchy in Iran I got to hear about him from the media. Who is there to lead now? None of the Iranian high officials in exile have stepped forward to say anything about what has happened in the last few days.

The only one who spoke was Reza Pahlavi and all he said was that he does not like to see another whatever-square in China and that he does not like to see bloodshed Iran. For the past 20 years, all we have seen in Iran is bloodshed and torture. Well, There are so much that one can say, but I guess it is enough for now. I was just wondering who is there to lead Iranian people.

Ardeshir Derazdast

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July 14, 1999

* Will civil society grow?

It is hard at this stage to predict the outcome of these recent events ["Great pain"]. This is only the most recent culmination of democratic efforts against the clergy (a battle with over 150+ years of recorded and bloody history) that begun long before the recent revolution of 1979 and has accelerated since Khomeini's death.

In reality the Shah and his father were a "comprise" between religious autocracy and democratic rule. Their dynasty was a synthesis of the forces that polarized the society during the Constitutional Movement. The Pahlavi's were autocratic and although non-secular but relatively non-religious. Their time represented a set back for both the clergy and the democratic forces.

For now the "reformist" President Khatami symbolizes the "compromise", and he has "urged the students to allow law and order to be established." Khatami a cleric (all be it reformist) precariously has to find the means of "reform" within the dogma and clerical establishment that abhors civil society. His goals are ambiguous and will wear thin. Either he will take sides or will fail on both fronts just as Gorbachev did in trying clerical theocracy.

The question for him is the same for many devout Muslims who have one way or another accepted the realities of change and human development. Will a reformed Islam emerge and realize Khatami's personal and conflicting "dream" - the one he is attributed to by friends and foes - the secular clergy? Islam's history has been cruel to these "heretics", and Khatami may choose not join their ranks and opt for the "rule of law".

The question for the rest of us is: Will the language, culture and politics of tolerance (not compromise) and the effort to define civil society in the context of Iran grow (and perhaps prevail) in this round? Or will our society swing from one extreme to the next? One way or another - even if these recent events do not translate into the significant change we all hope for - they will pave the way towards that goal.

Nader Pakdaman

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* Restless

I feel so helpless as I read the news about the Iranian students ["Great pain"]. I was only nine years old during the Islamic revolution, and now I feel the desperate need to be back in my homeland and take part in what is happening. I have read article after article, listened to the news, but still feel pretty restless. I don't know how other Iranians feel, but I will keep all the hamvatans in my heart.


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July 13, 1999

* Aafarin to the Iranian students

I have nothing but admiration for the students in Iran ["The spark"]. They stood up to the authorities and showed that whatever the regime does, it can not violate the sanctity of university facilities. Students are a very powerful sector of any society, specially in countries where campuses are not the place for big drinking parties and scenes of sexual escapades.

Universities in such countries are places for fervors of intellect and political idealism to bloom. Students are generally hot headed, emotional and idealist. They are at an age that because of their proven intellects, they feel they have the power to do anything and stop any violation of their beliefs ... FULL TEXT


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* Time for a change

I think its horrible what these students are going through ["The spark"]. I don't understand how a government can be so stupid as to ban rallies that they don't "approve of."

I think living in a democracy we take for granted our rights to peacefully protest that which we seek to change or simply as a means of expressing ourselves.

I hope more protests sprout in the near future around Iran to show the dimwit government that others too hold a similar belief on the issue of the free press and freedom to protest.

I know I will do my part by joining demonstrations here [in the U.S.]. I hope you will do the same because I know it is time for a change


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July 12, 1999

* Embrace global community

The writer of this article speaks of one losing their Iranian identity as though that would be such a tragedy ["After all, I am Iranian"]!

When I look at the Iranian community all I see is a people obsessed with appearance and intolerant of diversity. What few things there are to be proud of, such as the Persian empire, date back a good 2000.

It is time for Iranians to let down their guard and embrace the global community. Maybe then we could have new things to be proud of.

And for their readers who are gonna be writing to me criticizing my parents for not bringing me up in an Iranian environment, let me just say that I grew up in Iran, not America.


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* Still Iranian

I was going through The Iranian and I read "After all, I am Iranian". It was writen so nicely and true.

Even though I have only been in the U.S. five years I have grown so much in here. I don't dare call myself Iranian American cuz I am still an Iranian. I feel the same pride

It was so obvious that my roomate this past year called me a complete nationalist. He was telling me how I get so excited about every other news or event about Iran.

I guess we all have that pride in us that no one has the power to take away.

Behnam Farahpour

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July 9, 1999

* Khaaleh & Khaalu

In reference to the quote of the day on July 7th (Khaalam agar reesh daasht daaeem meeshod = If my aunt had a beard she would be my uncle), this is not really how the saying goes. The original is this: "Khaalam agar khaayeh daasht khaalu meeshod" (If my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle.). Note the repeated use of "kh" beginning.

Hossein B. Zadeh

Reply from the author of "1001 Persian-English Proverbs": Yes, you are right, that is another way of saying it and maybe the original one.

In the first edition I had some proverbs such as: "Aadam-e beekar javaldouz beh kha.. khod meezanad" or "Bad bakhty keh baaz aayad g... vaghte namaz aayad", "G... beh shagheegheh che rabti daareh?" and some others.

A few people called me and said their children read this book and these words should not be there. Since I wanted the kids be able to use the book, I decided not to use some or use the polite version of them in the second edition. Thanks for noticing.

Simin Habibian

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* We have you...

Good job. I really enjoyed reading your articles specially one about the root of the words ["Khiyaar chambar"]. Some of them are silly, but the rest was marvelous. I agree: I mean why should we hang on to our past to say we are someone and have this and that kind of culture?As long as we, ourselves, don't believe in who we are those words are worth nothing.

We have you -- and more sophisticated than that -- we still have writers like Hooshang Moshiri whose writings put Faulkner to rest! Thanks for the work and keep it up. You have our support.

Azadeh Azmoudeh
Sofiya Azmoudeh

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July 8, 1999

* Most important Iranian

Shamlu is one of the most important people in Iran and The Iranian Times never talked about him until few days ago ["Shamlu"]. Shamlu dose not need it, but we need to talk about him for the sake of Iran's young generation.

Shamlu is and has been a great poet, human rights fighter, political activist, writer and a follower of the independent left. I wish him speedy recovery. I think it is time for our children to know about Shamlu and scholars like Karimi-Hakak in the U.S. or Shams Langaroudi in Iran tshould teach our new generation about this great Iranian treasure.

We sang his poetry when we were kids without knowing his name. Remember "Khorshid khanom" and "Barun miyad ... "?

At least five generations of Iranians were influenced by his poetry. We all remember "Jom e haa" by Farhad.. And of course we should mention his great book "Ketab e kucheh". Let's dicover Shamlu again.

Massy Alamdari

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* Horrors for posterity

In reference to "Palm trees survive", for a moving tribute to the defense of Khorramshahr, I recommend reading the poem "Benevees, Benevees, Benevees" (Record, record, record) by Simin Behbahani, in her collection of poems titled "khattee zeh soraat va az aatash".

This should also be in the translation of Mrs. Behbahani's work "Selected Poems" published by Syracuse University Press (Ms F. Milani and Mr. K.Safah, translators).

The scars of war, along with those who suffered its terrors, will fade; but Simin Behbahani's several poems on the war have recorded the horrors for posterity.

Korosh Khalili

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July 7, 1999

* Cheh goli kaashtim?

Yes, I want to know why we are so prejudiced towards Jews, Bahai, gays, Blacks, Arabs...? ["I must be a Jew"] I live in France with cultivated and "intellectual" Iranians. But I have a lot of arguments about their racism. I always say :"haalaa maa baa een enghelaabemun cheh goli kaashtim keh khodemuno az Arabhaa behtar bedunim?"

And specially now with the recent news about the arrest of the Jews who are accused of spying... I was so shocked that I had a nightmare. I dreamt that they were hanged in public and I screamed and shouted "let them go!". Hopefully young Iranians who go to public schools in France will be less prejudiced because of the presence of students from Arab countries.

But at the same time I believe that in Middle Eastern countries, racism was rarely violent. Racism has surfaced only in words not in acts like in European countries. In Iran nobody was beaten by people because of his race or religion. The Persian term "bandeye khodaa" means "we are all equal" and Iranians use that term a lot.

Bahram Naraghi

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* The movie?

Thank you for an enchanting and marvelous piece. An L.A. Wedding: The Movie?

Guive Mirfendereski

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July 6, 1999

* My little daughter

I live in Iran . When I read your article I cried ["After all, I am Iranian"]. I am not fluent in English but I can feel what you are saying.

In two months I will fly to Canada. I think about my little daughter and her culture all the time. I think about the possibility that she will forget her Farsi and never be able to enjoy a Persian poem and maybe she would not understand who we are.

I hope that we can be Iranian and never forget our history.

Vida Razzaghi

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* Brilliant!

I know this is probably a late letter, but I just finished reading Hamid Taghavi's feature "L.A. wedding". Several words come to mind: BRILLIANT! HILARIOUS!

I laud Mr. Taghavi and hope to read more of his works soon. Thank you also to The Iranian.

Mina Mortezai

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July 5, 1999


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July 2, 1999

* Word roots

About the "Khiyaar Chambar" article, I don't know if the authors of the piece were serious or not, because some of the word roots were pretty ridiculuous. If they were serious in thinking that all those words have Persian roots, then I think I have to make some points.

Some of the words mentioned have Persian roots, but a great many are not Persian, but Indo-Iranian. For instance Chemistry actually comes from Al-chemy which comes from "Al Kimiyaa." Daughter is not actually dokhtar nor father is pedar and so on. They all come from a similar Indo-European root. So, daughter is not a derivative of dokhtar, rather they both are a derivative of dogtir ... FULL TEXT

Khodadad Rezakhani

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* Kudos!

Ms. Jalalipour makes a very astute observation ["After all, I am Iranian"]. Kudos to her parents for providing the environment to raise such a daughter. Kudos to Shima for being such a decent human being. Good luck to Shima, and others like her, in all her future endeavors.

A. Shemirani

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July 1, 1999

* Sincerest apologies

A recent letter that I had sent to The Iranian Times in which I had wrongly made derogatory remarks about Iranians elicited quite a few furious responses both sent to me personally and posted to The Iranian Times letters section.

I feel deeply sorry that I had caused distress for so many individuals whom, from what I can tell -- from the letters I received -- did not deserve those remarks.

My comments about Iranians in general were definitely uncalled for. I beg of all whom I may have offended to please accept my sincerest apologies.

Sholom Din

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* Bayzaie deserves better

It was so great to have an article about Bahram Bayzaie in The Iranian ["The drifter"]. Iranian modern art owes a lot to this writer, stage theater director and filmmaker.

However I don't have the same feeling about the article. The article seems to be more about the writer's emotional responses to Bayzaie's movies and his geographic locations while watching the movies than about Bayzaie.

One of the characteristics of Bayzaie's films is the lack of exaggerated emotional expressions and sentimentalism even when he is dealing with subjects such as love and death. It is very reasonable to consider the same fundamentals when writing about Bayzaie.

Also I wish there were more explanations to back up the writer's interpretations. As an example I can't understand what " Shaayad Vaghti Deegar" has to do with life and death, which is supposed to be the main theme for the other movie "Mosaaferaan". Bayzaie deserves more than that.

Pedraam Parsian

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